GRAND FORKS, N.D. — In a game marked by a battle in playing styles and a number of funny bounces that were both beneficial and harmful to the two teams, North Dakota skated to a 5-2 win over Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday.
The Sioux were hampered by Duluth’s slow grinding playing style early in the game, but came back in the second to take control of the contest.
The Fighting Sioux did see one player step up, and battle the slow Duluth game very well. Freshman Quinn Fylling was a major factor for North Dakota. While not scoring any points on the night, Fylling started the game, and was a needed physical force for the Sioux. The freshman wing had a knack of finding the puck, setting up plays for UND.
“I felt really good, and my linemates were working really hard too, it was great,” Fylling said. “We had a couple chances to bury them, and they just kept holding on and holding on.”
Duluth capitalized on one of Sioux goaltender Karl Goehring’s many first-period rebounds to draw first blood in the game. Michael Miskovich picked up the rebound from linemate Derek Derow’s shot, and brought it around the net for a wraparound goal that put Duluth up 1-0.
Goehring played the puck more, and kept it moving on many occasions with rebounds, rather than stopping play.
“I think our whole team wanted to keep it moving, and keep some momentum going,” Goehring said.
UND used a Duluth penalty to tie the game on a shot from sophomore defenseman Travis Roche. Roche picked up a loose puck in the circle and fired a shot on net. Duluth netminder Adam Coole saw the puck at the last second, but was not able to make a quality save, allowing the puck to slide through for UND’s first goal.
UND seemed to have trouble keeping the game at the speed they prefered. The Bulldogs used their defense and slower playing style to control the game very well. UMD used a well-disciplined defense in their own zone to prevent many quality scoring opportunities for the Sioux.
In the second period, the Sioux came out with a renewed fire, and played a much more wide-open playing style. UND capitalized on the faster pace by keeping pressure on Coole. On a power play at 2:37 of the second, the Sioux had a scrum in front of the net, and Coole’s stick was knocked away from him. Before the freshman goaltender could recover it, Ryan Bayda knocked in one of the many rebounds to put the Sioux up 2-1. The renewed energy seemed to help jumpstart the Engelstad Arena crowd, and the Sioux continued the pressure.
UND made the most of the momentum swing, and netted their third goal of the game on a tip by Bryan Lundbohm. Lundbohm just got his stick on a hard Jeff Panzer shot, and deflected it past Coole.
The renewed pace was dampened at 11:45 of the period when goaltender Adam Coole went down. Coole would not return, and the goalie change allowed sophomore Rob Anderson an opportunity to repeat his 37-save performance from the night before.
The Sioux continued to have the momentum, but missed numerous opportunities; the Bulldogs too saw many opportunities lost due to strange bounces of the puck.
Entering the third period, with the score 3-1 Sioux, the game was much closer than the score indicated, and the Bulldogs scored to pull within one at 1:08 of the third.
The Bulldogs’ goal came on a rush, and was a rare example of a beneficial bounce. The shot from left wing Tom Nelson bounced off a player, and was deflected in for the goal.
“It came off of somebody’s shinpad,” Goehring said. “That was one of the goofiest goals I’ve ever seen.”
The third period saw North Dakota further refine the game into their playing style. Sioux standout Bryan Lundbohm showed why he is a WCHA all-star with a goal at 9:36 of the third. Lundbohm’s goal resembled Bobby Orr’s Stanley Cup-winning goal, with the Sioux forward knocking the puck in while he was in midair.
“I just got a good pass from Wes [Dorey] that was a little off the ice, and I was lucky to get good wood on it,” Lundbohm said.
The Bulldogs called a timeout and prepared to pull Anderson with just under three minutes left. The Sioux kept the pressure on however, and prevented Anderson from leaving until there was two minutes remaining. The Sioux were a man down on a penalty to Kevin Spiewak, so the Bulldogs had a six-on-four advantage, but were not able to convert. At the 19:32 minute mark, Sioux defenseman Travis Roche scored an empty netter to end the game with a score of 5-2.
“I think we played a little bit smarter tonight, we were trying some new stuff and that takes some getting used to,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said. “Our kids battled hard tonight.”
Lundbohm said UND worked hard and overcame a tough opponent.
“It was a little frustrating not getting the pucks to go in the net, but we didn’t give up, and we got some lucky bounces and got some pucks in the net,” he said.